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Important Greek Philosophers


"The unexamined life is not worth living."

Born: about 470 BC in Athens

Died: 399 BC in Athens (aged about 71) 

  • Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy
  • First moral philosopher in the Western tradition
  • Known for the Socratic Method
  • Credited with saying "The unexamined life is not worth living"
  • Plato was a disciple (student) of Socrates


"I am a citizen of the world."

Born: around 412 BC in Sinope

Died: 323 BC in Corinth (aged about 89)

  • A controversial figure
  • Known for ascetic, or very simple, lifestyle
  • Called himself a cosmopolitan and a citizen of the world, rather than claiming allegiance to one place
  • Diogenes' ideas nfluenced Alexander the Great and the development of Stoicism
  • Known for Cynic Philosophy and Cosmopolitanism


"Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder."

Born: 420s BC in Athens

Died: 348 or 347 BC in Athens (age c. 80)

  • Founded the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world
  • Considered the founder of Western political philosophy
  • Was a disciple of Socrates and influenced also influenced by Pythagoras
  • Aristotle was a disciple of Plato
  • Known for allegories (such as the Allegory of the Cave), and works including the Republic and Dialogues


"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."

Born: 384 BC in Stagira, Chalcidian League
Died: 322 BC in Euboea, Macedonian Empire (aged approx. 62)

  • Was a disciple of Plato
  • Founder of the Lyceum, the Peripatetic school of philosophy, and the Aristotelian tradition
  • Taught Alexander the Great and Theophrastus
  • Known for Aristotelian philosophy, Syllogism, Theory of the soul, Virtue ethics
  • His philosophy has had influence on almost every form of knowledge in the West and continues to be a subject of philosophical discussion.


"The greatest reward of righteousness is peace of mind."

Born: February 341 BC in Samos, Greece
Died: 270 BC in Athens, Greece (aged about 72)

  • Epicurus and his followers were known for eating simple meals and discussing philosophy.
  • Openly allowed women to join the school as a matter of policy.
  • For Epicurus, the purpose of philosophy was to help people be happy.


"We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say."

Born: 334 BC in Citium, Cyprus
Died: 262 BC in Athens (aged about 72)

  • Zeno was the founder of the Stoic school of philosophy.
  • Based on the moral ideas of the Cynics, Stoicism emphasized \peace of mind gained from living a life of virtue in accordance with nature.
  • Also known for ideas such as the three branches of philosophy (physics, ethics, logic), rationality of human nature, and world citizenship

Links: Philosophy

Why Socrates Hated Democracy #TheSchoolOfLife

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Plato's best (and worst) ideas

PHILOSOPHY - Aristotle #TheSchoolOfLife

The philosophy of Stoicism